Twenty years ago, Barbara Hall and I (among many others) graduated from The Graduate Center at Marlboro College with a MS in Internet Strategy Management.
The class of 2001 was one of the biggest in the history of the school, with three separate sections of roughly 20 students each as we started. As we arrived, I remember employers salivating over all of us, wanting to hire us as soon as we were done, even visiting us the first day of school. Alas, the “dot bomb” was well underway, having started with the stock market crash in March 2000.
We had students from all over, literally flying to class every other weekend, from Kansas and California, taking the train up from Pennsylvania and New York, and driving in from Boston and Burlington. Unfortunately, not all of us made it through, as employers started cutting learning stipends in early 2001.
But we graduated in August 2001, into a world that seemed bright, despite the contraction in the economy. I gave the “valedictorian”-ish speech to the class at graduation as it was streamed online - an unheard of event in 2001, especially in the middle of nowhere.
I immediately started as a TA as soon as I graduated, a week before September 11, the same time I met with my first post-graduation web design client (on September 10). The world changed overnight, but thank goodness there were still students to teach and websites to build.
In 2002, I advised 4 capstone projects. I’d advise dozens more to come in the following 20 years.
By 2003, the degree became the MS in Strategic Technology Management, when it was no longer fashionable to have “internet” in the degree name. I also started teaching the first courses of my own.
By 2005, the degree disappeared entirely, sort of becoming the MS in Information Technology.
The school name changed every 2 years for a while – I forget the exact timeline and sequence, but it was something like:
The Graduate Center at Marlboro College
Marlboro College Graduate Center
Henry Zee Persons School of Marlboro College
Graduate School of Marlboro College
Marlboro College Graduate School
By 2011, I’d departed as a faculty member.
And by 2020, Marlboro College became the Marlboro Institute at Emerson College. No more main campus, no more Brattleboro building.
Still, it was the perfect graduate degree for me at the right moment in my life. I earned back my tuition at least 3 times over in the 10 years spent as a faculty member and program director. The degree enabled me to teach at Harvard, something that would have never crossed my mind as possible in 2001, or even in 2011. And I made many friends along the way who I’m still in touch with today.
Marlboro’s faculty and administration gave me many opportunities that kept me growing long after I’d graduated. They supported many user group meetings for Adobe and Joomla, supported our Joomla Day events with free space and a smile, and even sent us to New York City to give away information about the school at a conference one year.
We shall never forget driving to the Grad Center to participate in the online chat for class – text-based only and on AOL in those days, because we could not count on our dialup internet working at home for a full hour. (We had one in-person chat happening with the 8 or 9 of us who participated at Marlboro, with the second text chat happening online.)
We remember talking to Mr. Clean’s AI-driven website, as he gently asked us to reveal more personal details about ourselves.
Finally, Jeffrey Veen will always remind us that well-designed home pages address three things: Where are we? What can we do here? Where can we go next?
Happy 20th graduation anniversary to the class of 2001. Section 3 still rules after all of these years.